Ethics Hero: Boston Red Sox Pitcher Ryan Dempster

ivory-billed woodpecker

With a guaranteed contract that would pay him $13.25 million this year, all Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Ryan Dempster had to do was fail to make the team or be relegated to the disabled list to collect it all. Dempster felt, however, that his physical condition would not allow him to contribute to the team’s efforts to defend its 2013 World Championship, and that under the circumstances, decided that it would be better for all concerned if he didn’t play in 2014 and spent the year with his family. Thus, while not retiring, Ryan Dempster announced that he would forfeit the money owed to him.

Dempster made $13.25 million last year, and had made millions for many years before that; he certainly doesn’t “need” the money. Nevertheless, for a professional athlete to handle himself this way is about as rare as an ivory-billed woodpecker sighting.  “I could have had a choice of trying to spend the entire season trying to work through those and trying to be able to pitch,” he said in his statement, delivered at the Red Sox Spring Training camp where the team is about to begin training. “But I just felt like it’s something that’s preventing me from doing the job I want to do, and I’m not going to go out there and put my team at a disadvantage or me at a disadvantage by not being able to compete the way I’m able to compete.”

Ryan Dempster, professional athlete, just placed team, family, integrity, and fairness above $13.25 million dollars.

Ethics Hero.



Ethics Dunce: ARod-Plunking Red Sox Pitcher Ryan Dempster

I’ll admit it: I came thiiiiis close to designating Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster an Ethics Hero. Right after he intentionally threw a fastball  into Alex Rodriguez’s ribs on what would have been ball four, I was ready to write the post. Good for Dempster, I thought, making a statement for all the players who deplore steroids and the cheats who use them and for all the fans who feel that sociopathic, lying, greedy players who have debased the greatest game on earth with their use of PEDs. I continued to think that even after the Red Sox lost last night’s game against the Yankees, in no small part because Dempster put the Yankee third baseman, who continues to play while he appeals Major League Baseball’s suspension of him for this season and next, on base.

I was not, however, thinking clearly or ethically at the time.

Now, I am. Continue reading